A great laugh from the rest of the company made me aware that the Judge had consummated his tale of the “Sole Survivor.” “And so,” he finished, “they all went off as mad as hops because it hadn’t been a massacre.” Mr. and Mrs. Ogden--they were the New Yorkers-gave this story much applause, and Dr. MacBride half a minute later laid his “ha-ha,” like a heavy stone, upon the gayety.

“I’ll never be able to stand seven sermons,” said Miss Wood to me.

“Talking of massacres,”--I now hastened to address the already saddened table,--“I have recently escaped one myself.” The Judge had come to an end of his powers. “Oh, tell us!” he implored.

“Seriously, sir, I think we grazed pretty wet tragedy but your extraordinary man brought us out into comedy safe and dry.” This gave me their attention; and, from that afternoon in Dakota when I had first stepped aboard the caboose, I told them the whole tale of my experience: how I grew immediately aware that all was not right, by the Virginian’s kicking the cook off the train; how, as we journeyed, the dark bubble of mutiny swelled hourly beneath my eyes; and how, when it was threatening I know not what explosion, the Virginian had pricked it with humor, so that it burst in nothing but harmless laughter.

Their eyes followed my narrative: the New Yorkers, because such events do not happen upon the shores of the Hudson; Mrs. Henry, because she was my hostess; Miss Wood followed for whatever her reasons were--I couldn’t see her eyes ; rather, I felt her listening intently to the deeds and dangers of the man she didn’t care to tame. But it was the eyes of the Judge and the missionary which I saw riveted upon me indeed until the end; and they forthwith made plain their quite dissimilar opinions.

Judge Henry struck the table lightly with his fist. “I knew it!” And he leaned back in his chair with a face of contentment. He had trusted his man, and his man had proved worthy.

“Pardon me.” Dr. MacBride had a manner of saying “pardon me,” which rendered forgiveness well-nigh impossible.

The Judge waited for him.

“Am I to understand that these--a--cow-boys attempted to mutiny, and were discouraged in this attempt upon finding themselves less skilful at lying than the man they had plotted to depose?” I began an answer. “It was other qualities, sir, that happened to be revealed and asserted by what you call his lying that--”

“And what am I to call it, if it is not lying? A competition in deceit in which, I admit, he out did them.

“It’s their way to--”

“Pardon me. Their way to lie? They bow down to the greatest in this?” “Oh,” said Miss Wood in my ear, “give him up.” The Judge took a turn. “We-ell, Doctor--” He seemed to stick here.

Mr. Ogden handsomely assisted him. “You’ve said the word yourself, Doctor. It’s the competition, don’t you see? The trial of strength by no matter what test.” “Yes,” said Miss Wood, unexpectedly. “And it wasn’t that George Washington couldn’t tell a lie. He just wouldn’t. I’m sure if he’d undertaken to he’d have told a much better one than Cornwall’s.” “Ha-ha, madam! You draw an ingenious subtlety from your books.” “It’s all plain to me,” Ogden pursued. “The men were morose. This foreman was in the minority. He cajoled them into a bout of tall stories, and told the tallest himself. And when they found they had swallowed it whole--well, it would certainly take the starch out of me,” he concluded. “I couldn’t be a serious mutineer after that.” Dr. MacBride now sounded his strongest bass. “Pardon me. I cannot accept such a view, sir. There is a levity abroad in our land which I must deplore. No matter how leniently you may try to put it, in the end we have the spectacle of a struggle between men where lying decides the survival of the fittest. Better, far better, if it was to come, that they had shot honest bullets. There are worse evils than war.” The Doctor’s eye glared righteously about him. None of us, I think, trembled; or, if we did, it was with emotions other than fear. Mrs. Henry at once introduced the subject of trout-fishing,

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